written by: Zanne Lamb-Hunt
JLaw is just “a good old-fashioned Hagerstown boy” who grew up racing at the Hagerstown Speedway. His first introduction to entrepreneurship was when he was about twelve years old and racing quarter-midgets with his Dad.
“Me and my Dad had a little race team going on. It was quite expensive to do that back in the early 90’s. My Dad would build the engines. I would go out and win a couple races, throw a For Sale sign on the side of the car and ship the engine off to another kid.”
That was just the beginning. “Moving on from there, I started to make skateboards in wood shop class and sell them to kids. I quickly learned I was a horrible skateboarder so I started making rap music in high school. I was one of the first kids burning CDs back in 2000-2001 and selling rap CDs in the hallways of my high school.
“I was quite proud of that. I actually still have a couple of copies of it left. It was called The Come Back. I’m not really sure what I came back from but that was the name of my first album.”
JLaw kept on making music for about a decade. Meanwhile, he acquired some skills doing radio. “I did FM radio at Sheppherd University. I had some internet podcasts.” And, then it happened.
One Room Media Was Born
“One day, I decided to pick up a camera because I needed my own music video and that was it. I created about 300 music videos for artists inside the Hagerstown-Frederick-Martinsburg-Chambersburg area. And, one day somebody said, “Will you come to my wedding?
“That was the end of rap videos and I started pursuing wedding videography. That was 3 years ago now. That’s really allowed me to open up and create all types of different content now just through those experiences with music and film-making in general.
“I’m now able to produce small business commercials. I host and produce podcasts for other people in the Hagerstown area. I just do a lot of things. I’m not a typical photographer or videographer that just does one style year in and year out. I like to switch it up a lot.”
JLaw Now Identifies Himself As An Entrepreneur
When it comes to early entrepreneurship, does stealing your brother’s comic books out of the attic and then trying to sell them count? “I got caught doing that. I was about nine or ten at the time.
“I never really recognized quite what I was until very recently when I was out at a restaurant.” A guy approached him and said, “I remember when you used to sell skateboards.” JLaw had completely forgotten that he had done that.
He does remember, though, that for kids born in the 70’s and 80’s — being an entrepreneur “was bad karma. It was a fancy way of calling yourself a loser.
“Now, it’s really cool. Everybody wants to be an entrepreneur and be their own boss. I guess maybe it took me a long time to recognize because it wasn’t always a good thing.”
JLaw’s Biggest Challenge Of Being An Entrepreneur
“Learning to accept that not everybody will see your vision. And, that person could be your father. It could be your grandmother. It could be your wife.
“As a kid, I really cared what my parents thought.” Growing older, there’s the recognition that “maybe I know what I’m doing. I’m done explaining myself.”
Some people point out that being an entrepreneur is risky. “You know what? Going to work 8am to 5pm is risky too and I’ve seen people lose their jobs working somewhere for thirty years after they’ve become an expensive employee.
“So, everything’s a risk. It’s just how much are you going to calculate that risk. I think I’ve calculated mine very well and planned so if something does come along, I can switch into something else very quickly. Not everybody has that option.”
What Advice Would JLaw Give To Himself If He Could Start Over?
“Patience. Having patience — which is something that nobody has. We can blame millenials. We can say whatever fancy word we want to describe a generation but it’s every generation.
“I see it in guys who may be forty and trying to start their own business. They want to know why it’s not working right now. “As long as you keep doing it every day, at some point it’s gonna pay off.
A Sign That One Room Media Is Making A Difference
“I produced a video for a woman named Deirdre Norris. She owns a company called It’s A Blessing To Be A Blessing. Deirdre was diagnosed with cancer about four years ago.
“Out of nowhere, she just decided she wanted to start giving back. When something like that happens in your life, things change.
“She decided to give back and start feeding the homeless every week, clothing the less fortunate and things like that.”
JLaw heard that newspapers and news stations wanted to do a story on her. “So, I went down and did my own story on her.” The video had about 4000 views in twenty-four hours.
“The lady’s inbox is full of people that want to help — that want to donate. And, mind you, this lady does it all herself. The food she makes comes out of her own budget.
“I feel like I have a big responsibility as a media person in 2017 where a lot of stories aren’t real and a lot of stories are made for click-bait to make advertising money. I feel like it’s important to keep a level of honesty and a level of transparency with people.
JLaw Knows The Earning Power Of Facebook
“A lot of people often ask me for my website. I don’t have one.” You read it correctly. This guy who creates video content and owns a media company doesn’t have a website. Why?
“A good website costs money. A good website requires a lot of time and maintenance. As much video content as I create, I ain’t got time to put it up there every time.”
JLaw credits Facebook with helping him make about 75% of his online income — without directing people to a website. “I direct them to my YouTube which then makes money off of revenue from sponsorship through YouTube.
“Facebook is really that important if you know how to utilize it. It’s free and it allows me to self-brand myself and distinguish myself as a completely different photographer and videographer in the area. It’s the medium that has created my business and continues to drive my business forward because I know how to use it.
“Facebook is a God-send for me. You can make a substantial amount of money just using Facebook.”
A Quote Handed Down From JLaw’s Dad
JLaw recalls a time when his Dad was ripped off by someone. He looked at JLaw and said, “Son, being a nice guy gets you nowhere.”
He cautions, “Now, don’t take that out of context. What he was trying to say was to be stern with people and to be upfront ahead of time so you don’t run into any type of issues after the fact.”
Need social media with a definitive creative edge? Looking for some attention-grabbing content to help develop and promote your personal brand? Want media coverage for your upcoming event? Or, do you want wedding photos/videos that aren’t the ho-hum cookie-cutter stuff?
Reach out to JLaw at One Room Media to put his creativity to work for you! Build your brand. Build your online presence. Build memories.
38 South Potomac Street, Suite 206
Contents Provided by Frederick Advice Givers Podcast #092: Eric Verdi Interviews JLaw